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France, Arab League Recognize Syrian Opposition
November 13, 2012

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France became the first Western country to formally recognize the newly formed Syrian opposition group, echoing a political statement taken by the Arab League a few days earlier. President Francois Hollande said that his country would provide further recognition if certain conditions were met, suggesting that money and weapons could be on the way if the opposition can find stability in the political and military spheres.

France played a similar role in the organization of opposition to Libyan leader Col. Moammar Gadhafi, providing money and support before other Western nations did.

Mouaz Alkhatib, the Damascus preacher elected to the head of the newly formed National Coalition Forces of the Syrian Revolution, welcomed the endorsement of France and of the Arab League, which officially recognized the group a few days ago. The 22-member League, which ousted Syria from its ranks earlier this year, said that a new government, one without Assad at the helm, was the only way forward. Hollande echoed those sentiments. Alkhatib urged the U.S. and the U.K. to get onboard as well.

Western ministers also sought a more united military front in the war against President Bashar al-Assad. Opposition forces still struggle to keep hold on hard-won positions throughout the country, and the disparate nature of the struggles have made it easier for local forces to remain under local control; some rebel leaders have voiced mistrust of other forces as well. Independent groups have also reported observing rebel forces carrying out the same sort of human rights abuses that Syrian government have reportedly committed.

The need for weapons and the money to buy them is particularly keen for the opposition, which is outmanned and outgunned by an army financed by oil money and by regular shipments from Russia.

The civil war raged on, with Syrian forces pounding rebel positions along the borders with both Iraq and Turkey. The border with Israel, a hotspot for two days, was, by contrast, quiet.

The overall death toll has exceeded 38,000, according to human rights groups, who also say that the number of refugees who had fled the country has exceeded 400,000. The refugees have flowed across the borders into all neighboring countries but particularly into Turkey, creating the need for huge amounts of humanitarian aid.

 

 

 

 

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